Wednesday, April 29, 2009
So I folded one of the card stock and create a card. Interesting enough, the ribbon that I received had the same color in it, so I decided to use the ribbon. I found the ribbon very Springish and I particularly love the dragonflies and butterflies in it. Then I decided to take some blue and white cardstock that I already had. I wanted to go get the colors of the ribbon to complete the card. Since I already had the green with the card itself, I picked blue and white. Knowing which colors I wanted, my task was now to decide the use of the card. Mother's day coming soon, I decided to create a card for my mother-in-law. She is the best in the whole word. I am blessed to have wonderful in-laws who loves me for who I am and loves to spend time with us. But please don't tell her - I don't want her to see the card before Mother's Day *grin*.
I have Stampin' Up stamps and I used a stamp found in the Pocket Silhouettes and one found in the Define your Life stamp sets. This time, I decided to use my markers instead of ink. So I colored the leaves and the stems and press them on the white cardboard. I also used crayons from Crayola to reduce the white section around the design. I then used one of the stickers I had in my package to complete the card. I must admit that I selected my stamp based on the sticker. To complete the card, I stamped the gratitude definition. My mother-in-law is very helpful (along with my father-in-law) in coming to help with the kids when we need to, in babysitting for us and even cleaning while we are away. I told you I had the best in the whole world!
The whole card has been glue with the UHU Twist & Glue. As fun and interesting this glue is, I find it a little bit difficult to use while doing cards. The glue coming out of this is liquid and the cardstock tend to wave as it dries. BUT this glue applicator is very versatile - you can use it for simple dots (which I did with the ribbon) or as a small or large applicator. This can be done by simple twisting the upper part of the glue container. The adhesive is clear and can be use for paper, cardboard, wood, felt, fabrics and cork. I used it with the cardstock and the ribbon. Once the glue is dried, the ribbon is stayin in place. However, as I mentioned above, there are parts of the card that waves a bit. Not much but just enough to annoy me. The concept of Twist & Glue is interesting, you could easily switch your glue stick to be versatile for any kind of project.
You can find this glue stick in any good store selling UHU.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
A moving story of common wisdom from the bestselling author of The Traveler’s Gift.
Orange Beach, Alabama is a simple town filled with simple people. But they all have their share of problems – marriages teetering on the brink of divorce, young adults giving up on life, business people on the verge of bankruptcy, and many of the other obstacles that life seems to dish out to the masses.
Fortunately, when things look the darkest – a mysterious old man named Jones has a miraculous way of showing up. Communicating what he calls “a little perspective,” Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things that others miss. In his simple interactions, Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what they can do about it.
Based on a remarkable true story, The Noticer beautifully blends fiction, allegory, and inspiration.
WHO IS ANDY ANDREWS?
Andy Andrews has been hailed by a New York Times writer as someone who has become "one of the most influential people in America," is a best-selling novelist and in-demand corporate speaker for the world's largest organizations. He has spoken at the request of four different U.S. presidents. His website is http://www.andyandrews.com/ .
WHAT I THOUGHT OF THE BOOK
I’m blown away. It was my first time reading a book from Andy Andrews and now I just want to drive to the Christian bookstore in town to get the other ones. I LOVE IT! As a matter of fact, I devoured the book as soon as it was printed. I got the opportunity of get the e-book on April 23rd (which partly explains why I am a day late in producing my review – got it late so I am a day late… sorry!).
I had so much trouble of getting out of the book it was incredible. I discovered wonderful characters and I just enjoyed the way Andy writes. Down to earth and simple. Direct. No turning around. It made me thought of how I think sometimes and I realized that at times I do lack perspective. Andy has a way of writing that makes you realized that you have forgotten some basics things in life – like that couple who was going to divorce –Jones explains to them that each have their own love language and that we have a tendency of speaking our languages to our spouse while it is a foreign language for him/her. “Been there done that!” was my thoughts. Yes I sometimes speak a different love language than what my husband really understand. And the same is true for him. Every now and then, we sit down and go through it again. Reading The Noticer helped me to realize that we make choices that will affect our future all the time. We need to stop, think and be wise in our decisions. It’s a matter of perspective.
If you want to be hooked by a book – I strongly suggest that you pick up The Noticer.
Want to know what this is all about? Check out this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACYoMlscWIU&feature=player_embedded .
For more information about The Noticer Project go to the website http://www.thenoticerproject.com/ .
Monday, April 27, 2009
Memoria Press was the last vendor to participate to the TOS Homeschool Crew and they suggested some products to review with the possibility to change the choice if we wanted. I personally modified my selection a little bit asking for Prima Latina and Latina Christiana I so I can present both options to other homeschoolers in my area. I must tell you that I don’t have any experience in Latin so I was a little bit concerned with starting with Latina Christiana I. I was expecting to receive only the books for both curriculum and I had the surprise to receive not only the books but the CDs and DVDs as well. The teacher manuals contain a complete copy of the student book with answers as well as additional explanation of lessons if your student found it difficult.
For someone who never did any Latin in her life, I was glad to get the DVDs. And I must honestly say that the DVDs are a must. Leigh Lowe takes the time to explain and repeat the teaching for whoever sit down and listen to it. I find this curriculum uses the various ways of learning, listening, saying, and writing.
Prima Latina is an introduction to Christian Latin for Grades K-3.
On the website, you can access the table of contents as well as examples of lessons. You can also see some pages from the teacher’s manual and access online games.
In Prima Latina you will recognize English and Latin verbs as well as nouns, prepositions, proper nouns & pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, to be verbs, present and future tenses, first conjugation, first declension, 125 Latin vocabulary words, about 150 Latin derivatives, 25 great Latin sayings, and many more. It is the precursor of Latina Christiana.
LATINA CHRISTIANA I
Latina Christiana I is an introduction to Christian Latin as well but geared for students in grades 3-6.
Again on the website, you can access the table of contents and a lesson from both books. You can also get from flashcard drill form, printable frill forms, fun Latin songs, extra worksheets and keys, online games and a list of online resources for Latin.
In Latina Christiana I, you will study 200 vocabulary words, 250 derivatives, grammar forms, 25 Latin sayings, history lessons, and much more. Latina Christiana I can be paired with their book Famous Men of Rome. In the teacher’s manual, you will find a small free study guide for Famous Men of Rome and the stories of 30 great Romans will make the study of Latin come alive. The introduction of Latina Christiana I also review the lessons learned in Prima Latina for the base of Latin.
OUR EXPERIENCE WITH LATIN
As I mentioned above, I personally had no experienced with Latin. So my eldest son and I sat down one day and started the first lesson of Prima Latina. By the end of it, we were both excited about it and were looking forward to continue. My son enjoyed it to the point that he was using some expressions during the day. For example, before starting a prayer he would sometimes use the term for Let Us Pray which is Oremus. We learned that the Latin alphabet has only 25 letters (I will let you search for which letter is missing) and the pronunciation of the letters are sometimes different that the regular alphabet.
We had some reactions about us wanting to learn Latin. The “Why Latin?” question came and my answer to it is simple. Latin is the base of many languages in the World – French, English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian to name only a few. I think it would be nice to learn this language and have a good base for other languages as well. Did you know that for the English language only there are over half of the words that come from Latin? I didn’t know this and I think it is pretty impressive. Latin also helps to learn English grammar. I am a French Canadian and I am finding that I am learning a lot in both English and French with these lessons. Besides Latin is used a lot in science and understanding it would help to decipher the terms used for animals, plants, and other science terminology.
The DVDs are a must. I highly recommend getting them as well. It makes the lesson so much easier and you learn the proper pronunciation right away. Leigh Lowe is just wonderful in her lessons. The videos are professionally made and you can sense her passion for this language. The lesson on DVD is very interactive as well. Leigh takes the time to repeat multiple times to make sure the students understand and as some point she let the students answer her in the video. I think it is a great way to keep the attention of the students. She also make the lesson so easy to grasp and apply by explaining the meaning and giving the derivative. You won’t look at an English word the same way anymore – I guarantee it! By combining the student book with the DVD lesson and the CD, Leigh makes certain that she uses all senses to learn a complex language. The student will see it on the TV and in the book, hear it multiple times and also say it in response to the lesson.
For younger students I strongly recommend to start with Prima Latina as it would present the basic of the language. As soon as your student is more comfortable in learning grammar and expending is knowledge in a second (or third) language, then I would recommend considering in Latina Christiana I which can be followed by Latina Christiana II later on.
Prices and certificate of accomplishment
The Prima Latina texts, DVDs and Flashcard is priced at 90.90$ US while the Latina Christiana I is priced at 97.90$ US for the text books, DVDs and flashcards. I didn't get any flash cards in the set I received so I can not comment of these. When you complete Latina Christiana I or II, you can also request a certificate of accomplishment for a nominal charge. Details of this opportunity can be found at the following link http://www.memoriapress.com/CLSA/ .
Confused to which program would be better for your student? Simply go to http://www.memoriapress.com/articles/start_latin.html and look at the chart to determine which Latin program you would need.
Oh I almost forgot... If you are wondering what Salvete! means it’s Hello when there is more than one person. This is my last review for the TOS Homeschool Crew and I am telling all my fellow crew members Valete amici (goodbye friends). I am forever grateful for the time spent together during the last 9 months and look forward to continue this relationship on facebook and our yahoo group. See you all around the corner of the digital world!
As for me, the TOS Homeschool Crew made me rediscover a love of writing to inform others. I made contact with various publishers and companies and will continue to review products in the months to come. I just enjoy doing this and think I have found my niche (a marketing terminology)! Keep reading to see what I will discover in the future. Blessings!
NOTE: At our recent homeschool conference in our city, I discovered with joy that Memoria Press was offered by at least two vendors. However, I didn't see the DVDs on the table.
The activities included in this lapbook are The Lineage from David to Jesus, Birth of Jesus, Miracles of Jesus, The Beatitudes, Fruit of the Spirit, The Parables of Jesus, The Last Supper, The Crucifixion, The Resurrection, The Ascension, Pentecost, Prophesies Fulfilled, The Twelve Disciples, Paul’s Missionary Journeys and Postcards from Paul. You will also create a newspaper call The New Testament News as well as a poster with The Armor of God which you can personalize with a picture of your child in it.
I used the product with my oldest son, Alexandre. We had fun to create this lap book. Alexandre was able to go through the major stories in the New Testament and also discover the various travels made by Paul. As I write this, we are not completely finished with it. I can’t wait to do the armor of God with him and put his lovely face as the soldier. I really enjoy sitting down with him and guiding him in putting the lapbook together. The images are well done and the activities are just wonderful. The Last Supper is especially interesting as you have to make sure that the arms of Jesus move up and down while he is presenting the bread and the wine. This Activity Pack is packed (literally!) with very well illustrated stories from the New Testament. We really enjoy working on the beatitudes as we learned to create a pizza book. That was very fun! It was a pleasure to see my son sharing what he did with his dad when it was done. So sweet!
What is even more interesting with this vendor if that you can have the same kind of activity pack for the Old Testament. And this product is on my want-it list for next year. In the meantime, we will finish the New Testament and enjoy spending time learning about Jesus, the early church and Paul’s missions. I am especially looking forward to create the NEW TESTAMENT NEWS. I am keeping this activity for the end as a wrap-up of all the information we learned while doing the lapbook.
I strongly recommend that you visit Homeschool In The Woods to discover the various activity packs as well as their other products they have for your students. The New Testament Activity Pack is priced at 18.95$ US for the download version or 19.95$ US for the CD version. What is nice about the download edition is that you don’t have to pay shipping since you get it immediately. You can then keep the file on your PC and use it whenever you want to. This product is recommended for grades 3-8 but my son is finishing is grade 2 and was able to do the activities without problems.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
At Isambar Dunstan’s School for Wayward Children, life is trouble for fourteen-year-old identical twins Sadie and Saskia Dopple and their firend, former thief Erik Morrissey Ganger. But what starts out as a perfectly normal day of food fights, rioting classmates, and (yawn) threats of expulsion goes suddenly and horribly wrong when a mysterious, wealthy woman appears at the school and adopts Saskia…without her sister.
On her own in a mansion full of dark secrets, Saskia stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens her very life. Meanwhile, desperate to find Saskia, Sadie and Erik escape from the orphanage with a gang of enemies in hot pursuit. Faced with perils beyond their imaginations, the trio must decided who to trust – and what to believe – if they are to survive long enough to find each other again.
Who is G.P. Taylor?
A motorcyclist and former rock band roadie turned Anglican minister, G.P. Taylor has been hailed “hotter than Potter” and “the new C.S. Lewis” in the United Kingdom. His first novel, SHADOWMANCER, reached #1 on the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list in 2004 and has been translated into forty-eight languages. His other novels include WORMWOOD (another NEW YORK TIMES bestseller, which was nominated for a Quill book award), THE SHADOWMANCER RETURNS: THE CURSE OF SALAMANDER STREET, TERSIAS THE ORACLE, and MARIAH MUNDI: THE MIDAS BOX. Worldwide sales for Taylor’s books now total more than 3 million copies.
The Dopple Ganger Chronicles combines art and text to create illustra-novellas, a new kind of book designed to enhance the reading experience for a visually oriented generation of kids – especially reluctant readers.
G.P. Taylor currently resides in North Yorkshire with his wife and three children.
My thoughts on the book
This is definitively full of action and adventure. Written for young people (it is a juvenile fiction after all…), I must say that even an adult could enjoy this book. Especially if this adult is into comic books! And I know what I am talking about because we collect comic books and as soon as my husband saw the book he thought this was an interesting concept and was looking forward to read it.
I must say that I am impressed with how the story is presented. At times, you read a text and then suddenly you are propelled into the comic world for a page or two. You experience lots of action and adventure during your reading of the book. I must advise that there is a séance going on at one point but Saskia quickly realize that it is fake and not real. Also, at one point a character shows up – Potemkin who is an illusionist – and honeslty I am wondering what this character is doing in the story. I don’t see the point of putting such a character in there. It honestly feels like he got created to fill a space and add more mystery in the story. I am still trying to figure out this character and I might have to read the book a second time to understand it…
Apart from that, the book was great and interesting to read. I like the idea of incorporating art and text together to help the younger generation to develop a love of reading. It is a skill that needs to explore various ways to reach out to the new generation since more and more young ones don’t enjoy it.
The series has its own website, http://www.dopplegangerchronicles.com/ , where you can find interesting games based on the book. There is a Trivia questions and answers, pronunciation guide, crosswords puzzles, word search puzzle, wall paper downloads as well as a link to the MySpace site of Dopple Ganger. You can also download the first chapter at http://www.dopplegangerchronicles.com/downloads/Doppleganger_First_Chapters.pdf .
I look forward for the second book of The Dopple Ganger Chronicles to know what will happen to Sadie, Saskia and Erik. I grew to love the characters in the book I have just read and look forward to learn more about them.
Sneak Peek at The Secret of Indigo Moon Book II of The Dopple Ganger Chronicles.
Confirmed troublemakers Erik, Sadie , and Saskia are back at Isambard Dunstan’s orphanage, with the strict warning to behave – or else. But then strange noises at night begin. A secret tunnel under the school is found. Villains emerge from the shadows, and so does a plaintive appeal for help. A mysterious detective starts sniffling around, but no one can quite tell whose site she’s on.
With all of this going on, who could possibly behave? The members of this irrepressible trio once again find themselves in the greatest danger, from which only their friendship – and faith – can save them.
COMING SEPTEMBER 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Yesterday I read Judges 3:12-30 and came upon something interesting. You know that you're into something when you never realized this was written in the Bible. You probably know the story on how Ehud killed King Eglon of Moab. What I never realized was that in verse 15 it says:
" His name was Ehud son of Gera, of the tribe of Benjamin, who was left-handed."
Uh? What is the big deal of specifying that Ehud was left-handed? So I pondered on this... since yesterday. This morning, I came to the conclusion that more than likely being left-handed didn't help Ehud to carry a sword. Maybe he wasn't as quick as his friends to fight...
So I took my NLT Bible this morning and wanted to see if there was comments about this mention. There was. So here it goes...
"God can uses us just the way he made us. Being left-handed in Ehud's day was considered a handicap. Many Benjaminites were left-handed (see 20:16). But God used Ehud's perceived weakness to give Israel victory. Let God use you the way you are to accomplish his work."
In my NIV notes I can read that being left-handed Ehud could conceal his dagger on the side where it was not expected (v 21) which was his right thigh. In my NIV Archeological Bible, it is mentioned that Left-handedness was common in the tribe of Benjamin (1 Ch 12:2) as I mentioned before. However, it also indicates that it may have been artificially induced by binding the right arms of young boys to produce superior warriors.
I can see conflicting information here. One says it produced superior warrior while another says it was considered an handicap. Maybe it was considered an handicap by outsiders from the Israelites...
I recently got prophesied on. First time for anything right? The person told me that God made me the way I was for a reason and that right now I might not see it but in the future I will. There is also some specific things in me that I don't even know that are there and that I will realize that God had a purpose in putting them there in time.
Where am I going? When you think that God is not using you - don't believe it... That's a lie. God is always using us even if we don't realize it. People see how we are and how we react to events in our life. Our own kids observe us and they are like a sponge. Be like a beacon of light for the LORD for anyone you cross in your days. A few years ago, I went to the park with the kids. Back then I had Alexandre and maybe Dominic as a baby. Anyhow, I start talking to a lady at the park and out of the blue, she tells me that her husband is cheating on her and so on. I was taken by surprised. Why me? But then I realize that as a child (well make it more like a young adult) I went through my parent's divorce. Funny enough, hubby had bought me a book from Dr. Dobson Love Must Be Tough just to understand my parents. And I had taken TONS of notes in the book about my parents and me and so on... So I told her about the book and offered it to her. I also prayed outloud for her in the park. The next day I brought the book for her... Weird. I never saw her again. I heard from her once - she told me she was enjoying the book. Her situation was not easy as that other woman was also going to her church and was also married. I pray and hope that God healed her marriage but I don't know.
Another time, He used me on a grand-mother walking with her grand-baby. Her daughter-in-law had a big case of post-partum. I had experience it a little bit... but not to the point to be hospitalized (which was the case here). So I prayed for her and told her about our church back then... She seemed interested in telling the information to her son and daughter-in-law.
My point is that you never know when God will use you. Be prepare even if you are left-handed.
And by the way - I am left-handed.
One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:13. Check it out what it says!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Today’s youth is wired like there is no tomorrow. The media is part of their culture. They live, eat, sleep with the internet being part of their life. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, texting, you name it, they know about it. When I look at teenagers or young adults almost all of them have a MP3 player. At age 40, I still have to say I don’t own one myself. We do have one in our truck but I don’t carry it around. Anyhow, this new version of the New Testament is perfect for this generation of multi-tasking and very entertaining. The producers taught of using artists they would know from various hip shows that they watch. How genius is that? To complete the production of this new version of the New Testament, you will have many Hollywood special effects like water splashing on a boat, fire crackling in the night, and many more.
I must admit I was very impressed with what I heard so far. It is well done and it brings you directly in the stories in the New Testament. My kids are not quite at the age of listening for an extended time but they were listening during our 2 hours trip over the week-end. We are planning to use these wonderful resources during our trips to go to the trailer or during our yearly trip with the trailer. This version of the New Testament brings a breath of fresh air while you listen to it. It is very dynamic and easy to understand even for our own children. And it presents the gospels and the letters of Paul in simple words. It actually uses the International Children’s Bible (ICB) as a base. We own the comic book version of the ICB and my oldest really enjoys it.
We haven’t had the time to listen to the whole Next Generation New Testament because we don’t own a MP3 player in the house. However, both our vehicles have a MP3 player so we can listen to it while driving. I think it is a wonderful way to spend time with God don’t you think?
The set includes 24 hours of audio drama going through the whole New Testament. There are 3 MP3 CDs and a bonus Behind-The-Scene DVD containing interview with the actors. This version is also available in a CD format.
The website of the Next Generation Bible (http://www.wordofpromisenextgeneration.com/html/index.html) contains many interesting information for your youth. Casts bios, freebies, 40-day listening plan and even a downloadable sample, there is lots of goodies for everyone! I think Thomas Nelson is offering a wonderful product for the youth and the young at heart. Hey! I am enjoying it and I am forty years old. Check it out at your Christian bookstore!
The set is available at Christianbook.com for 14.99$ US or at indigo.ca for 39.18$Cdn when you have the ireward card.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Published by Bethany House, this series relates the stories of 3 sisters. After the unexpected death of their father, the three Gallatin sisters—Gwen, Beth, and Lacy—must fashion a life for themselves in the Montana wilds, operating a roadhouse that sits at the crossroads of two stage lines. But the saloon owner in town has his sights on the roadhouse, and an unexpected visitor from the east adds to the chaos. Though each sister hides a secret sorrow, they determine to look to the future with faith and a dose of humor—all to embrace the love they long to claim as their own. In this series by popular and bestselling author Tracie Peterson, adventure and heartwarming romance are sure to delight the reader.
Who is Tracie Peterson?
Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 70 novels. She teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. Tracie and her family live in Belgrade, Montana. Visit http://www.traciepeterson.com/.
Book One: A Promise to Believe In
This book concentrates more specifically on Gwen. She is the oldest of the sisters and is like a mother for Beth and Lacy. I found that the story was slow to pick up at first but once it was the reading went smooth. Gwen had a head on her shoulders however she has false ideas about what is happening around her. She thinks she is the reason why people close to her die and she believes herself has being cursed. The story unfolds some interesting mysteries and come to a wonderful end.
Book Two: A Love to Last Forever
Beth is the romantic one. She loves to read dime novels and wonders what love really look like. She doesn’t realize that love is right under her nose until you reach about half of the book. The book also has its series of mysteries and events that will rock the like of Beth and those close to her. Beth will discover that even though she can’t control the events in her life, she needs to trust God.
My thoughts on the books
Honestly I’m not a big fan of romance novels but these are set during an era that represents the conquest of the west and it was quite refreshing to read. I was hooked by the Gallatin sisters and their neighbors. They learn to live in the west without a man in the family and to have success in what they do. Their faith is God is strong and they struggle with different “lies” in their head/heart. Gwen thinks she is curse while Beth thinks that she was selfish to be relieved when her dad died under suspicious circumstances. Both come to term with these lies and face the future with joy. The younger sister is the one who can’t seem to find closure after their dad died. She wants to find the person who killed him without looking at the danger around it. Lacy will have her own “adventure” in book three: A Dream to Call My Own. This conclusion of the series will be published in June 2009. I am looking forward for this one to come out so I can know what will happen to Lacy and her objective to find the person who killed her father. Will she be successful? I sure hope so. In the mean time, if you are looking for some refreshing read, consider getting the Brides of Gallatin County and be prepared to be transported to the Wild West.
A promise to Believe In is available at amazon.ca and indigo.ca .
A Love To Last Forever is available at amazon.ca and indigo.ca.
When I first learned that Tapestry of Grace would be a vendor participating to the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was a bit excited because I was curious to see which differences existed between this curriculum and the history curriculum we were using. Then I learned that we would get access to the new Digital Edition. Right away, I had some reserves since I didn’t see how a curriculum like this could go digital. Even though I respect their decision to go digital, I still have some issues with it.
Year 1 Unit 2 – All Governments Are Established by God
The various governments covered in this unit are Ancient India, Ancient China, Early Greeks, Promised Land, Judges, Samuel and Minor Neighboring Cultures, Rise of Paul and the Philistines, David. There is lots of interesting information for all these.
We learned a lot while doing the unit on all governments are established by God. We were exposed to the Indian and Chinese culture. We traveled on the Great Wall of China and in the Maya culture. It was very informative and interesting. I especially learned some things about the construction of the Great Wall of China. We had a great time reading the book suggested for the lower and upper grammar. My kids being young in age, I wasn’t able to look into the dialectic and rhetoric levels of learning.
The product I selected to review at the same time as the Year 1 Unit 2 was Writing Aids. Writing Aids is a writing guide for anyone in the family. You can use this product to complement the TOG or just as a standalone. There are many writing assignments for all levels of students going from grades K-12. You will need only one copy of this product for your whole family. This book/CD combination contains many options for writing assignments. The book is mostly written for the teacher ( that’s you and me!). It will give you the important notions you need to know for any writing genre.
I can see myself using this Writing Aids not only for English assignments but for the French ones as well. I could adapt the requirements to any kind of assignment if I need to. The CD contains various subjects like Talking Points, Grading Strategies and Supplements. The Talking Points are a summary of the content of the lesson that the child can use while doing his writing assignment. The Grading Strategies are suggestions for grading most genres of writing assignment. These are tailor-made for the assignment chosen. Finally the Supplements are templates that can be used by the student to guide him/her through the assignment. From the CD you can also access a specific webpage from LampstandPress which gives you samples of student work from various levels.
Writing is a skill that demands practice and having the Writing Aids will provide any homeschooler with tons of ideas to help their student to practice writing. Also grading a writing assignment is not always easy and this wonderful product gives you guidelines to do so depending of the writing assignment you have given to your student. While doing the lessons for TOG, we used some of the Writing Aids for reading comprehension. The guidelines were helpful to identify the various events happening in a book or to clarify the main ideas. My oldest son was the only one using the Writing Aids at this point and he also learned how to properly address an envelope so he can write to his friend in Alberta or send notes to his grand-parents/mamie. Recently, he decided to send a joke to Clubhouse Jr. He addressing wasn’t the most perfect one but he is learning!
I find the TOG Digital Edition quite expensive. One unit is priced at 45$ US while the whole year is 170$US. The Print Edition for the full year would be 225$ US while the printed units are priced at 60$ US each. This is only one year of curriculum – you need to keep in mind that there are four years for TOG which you can recycle every four years as your child grow. Mind you the one advantage I could see for the digital edition would be instantaneous since you don’t need to get the products shipped to you. You would get it directly in your e-mail. However, you will not be able to resell the digital edition once you are done with it. Reselling a curriculum that is expensive permits the family to recover the expense made in the past. With the digital edition this option is not possible unfortunately.
The Writing Aids book is priced at 50$ US and I think it is a product that any homeschool family should own – even if you don’t use TOG. It is complete and gives you plenty of writing assignments for the years to come.
For more information go to http://www.tapestryofgrace.com/index.php .
Monday, April 20, 2009
Homeschool conference in my area. My in-laws looked after the kids while hubby and I went to the conference. It was a one-day thing this year and I was a bit disappointed with the reduced numbers of vendors this year. Sad. On the other hand I went to great sessions and we got all the curriculum I had on my list. We are officially ready for grade 3 and Senior Kindergarten with a bit of Junior Kindergarten. I was surprised to see some products from Memoria Press there as well as Artistic Pursuits. Interesting. I had comments from people telling me they look forward to my reviews in the Newsletters and one lady said she is seriously thinking to ge tthe Spears Art Studio for her daughter who loves to draw. Super! I told her again that it was totally worth it. I also won a price foro being there but by the time my name got out - there wasn't much left so I got 2 subs from Subway for free and we had free supper... *grin* I also made contact with NECTAR Foundation and got some free software to reviews from them. And the guy also gave me a little bag with pink lemonade as a thanks for reviewing the products. I got 4 CDs in French from him and I also have a bunch in English to look into as well. So it was productive. Hubby also made contact with the rep from HSLDA - they talked a lot and connected well I think. Interesting.
Sunday - We packed the kids and drove to Montreal to visit my mom. It went well I think. I shall see how it goes in the weeks to come. My poor Alexandre asked us when we will see her again and if it will take 1 year. He is at the age of understanding more. I told him it wasn't my decision and we will go with what happens. He was crying. He is my big softy child - very attached to people. Dominic though asked my mom when she will die, hubby told him we don't know when we die and asked him who decides this. He said Jesus. Sweet. At 5 he already have a great thinking. We went to the Biodome during the afternoon. Being a while since we went. We got a family membership and can go as often as we want during the year with free entrance to the Botanical Gardens in June and free entrance to the Planetarium in November. We came back at 9pm. Tired. Hopefully it doesn't take too long to get back in our routine.
Today - we have a visit to the dentist. Five of us... Only Jasmine is spared from it...
Friday, April 17, 2009
I had the opportunity of reviewing the WriteShop Primary Book A as well as the activity set worksheet pack both in the e-book edition. This product is recommended for students in Kindergarten or first grade but I adapted it for my 2nd grader during the review. I let him decide which subject he wanted to write and he thought it was fun to do. This review introduced my child to the process of organizing your thoughts before writing something. He loved sitting down with me and writing about a topic he had previously picked. It made him think and look for the right words. I love hearing his laugh when he thought of something funny to write. So precious!
The early lessons have the option of being done orally for the child and mom (or dad) would write what the child is dictating. I think this is very interesting because it forces us to slow down and speak to one another on a specific subject and to listen to what the child is saying. Then if the child can do copy work, he/she could easily copy the words the parent has written previously. My child was older so he was able to write directly in his book the sentences he wanted to include.
The objective at the end of Book A is to have your child to be able to learn how to plan, create, and publish simple stories with your help. Throughout the book, the child will learn to generate ideas, plan a story before writing it, gather information about a specific topic, use a story web to organize the information, identify the parts of a story (beginning, middle, and end), choose a title, think on how to improve the story, and publish the story.
I think this series is amazing. I could easily adapt it to do the same thing in French. It’s easy to use and fun to do. Sitting together bring togetherness and laughter when your child tells you what he wants to write. Yes I do recommend this writing curriculum for K-3rd graders.
In addition to the Teacher’s guide, I also received the Activity Set Worksheet Pack that completes the program. This Activity Set is an integral part of the program and offers 20 reproducible activity pages to introduce and support the skills taught during the lessons. If you intend to get the writing program, do consider getting the Activity Set as well as they go hand-in-hand together.
The WriteShop Primary Book A is available at their website in two versions. The print version is 26.95$US (plus shipping) and the e-book version is 24.25$US (shipping included). As well the Activity Set is available in print for 4.95$US (plus shipping) or e-book for 4.50$US (shipping included). The advantage of having an e-book version is that you can get the books right away without waiting or paying for shipping. You just have to print the document whenever you need it. And you have the option to print in a whole or just print a little bit at a time. I really like this option as I don’t have to wait for a package to arrive at my door! *grin*
The good news is that WriteShop is planning to release Book B and Book C later this year (2009). Book B is planned to be released in June while Book C is schedule for August or September. I personally look forward to the day when these will be available. I think I have discovered a gem to introduce creative writing for my kids.
It is possible for you to look at the scope and sequence of the WriteShop Primary Book A by going to http://www.writeshop.com/writeshop_primary_scope_sequence.htm . If you are wondering which book would be better for your student, you can visualize the placement chart at http://www.writeshop.com/writeshop_primary_placement.htm .
Sample lessons are also available. For the WriteShop Primary Book A simply go to http://www.writeshop.com/images/WS-Primary-A-Lesson-5-Sample.pdf and for the Activity Set go to http://www.writeshop.com/activity_set_worksheet.htm . Look into it, you will be very surprised and pleased by what you will see.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Most kids don’t realize it, but God’s Word has a lot to say about the things they care about. Covering more than 300 everyday topics in conversational, engaging, one-page units, 8 to 12 years old will get biblical perspective on many topics like homework, dieting, anger, sports, classmates, puberty, siblings, self-confidence, friendship, integrity, knowing God, etc.
Each page of the book what the topic has to do with the Bible, what the Bible says about it, and how the Bible’s teaching applies to the reader. Also, you will find 200 original cartoons that illustrate some of the topics.
Carolyn has written forty books for children and adults. She is a mother of three who combines humor and experience in writing on biblical topics. She is best known as the author of the Little Girls Bible Storybook line, which has sold 1 million units.
Love it. It's another wonderful book from Crossway. It’s simple and direct so that my oldest can understand the topics without problems. It gives some scriptures to relate to as well as some food for thought on each subject. There is also a prayer at the end of each topic so the child can talk to God about what he/she has just read. I can see ourselves using this as a devotional during our next school year. The topics are real for 8-12 years old and very down to earth.
While scanning the Table of Contents, I saw a topic on dancing. I was curious with what the author would write on this because our church is a church who worships God on electronic music and people don’t hesitate to dance if they want to. I was glad to see that Carolyn view of dancing is the same as ours. We don’t allow suggestive dancing as we think it is improper.
At the ages where influence from others is strong, we need to rely on God’s word to stay strong and firm. This little book will helps our kids to dig more into the Bible and to understand how it relates to today’s problems as well as how to live your life.
This one is for boys only. Some of you are not interested in girls whatsoever and others are starting to see them more. The feminine gender was created by God to complete the male. Girls are a beautiful creation. They can be vulnerable at times and it’s your duty as a boy to protect them and help them when it is needed.
What the Bible Says
Husbands love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
1 Peter 3:7
1 Corinthians 13: 7
Like it or not, someday you will want to get married and a woman will enter your life. But in the meantime, you need to respect the girls around you and take care of them. The girl of your life will complete you and become your companion. She and you will grown close to each other and support each other. To prepare yourself you need to learn to care and respect them. Be yourself when you talk to them and be honest. Always make sure they feel secure in your presence and that they can trust you.
Today I Will…
Thank God for girls. Make a commitment to God that you will respect the girls around you, be nice to them as well as protect them if circumstances arise.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Okay I told you I was a BzzAgent. I also participate to the frogpond. So far I have looked at some websites and posted my comments on them. Simply click on the Frogpond on the top to visit my comments.
I'm a buzzAgent and I am part of a Word-Of-Mouth campaign. Being a BzzAgent, I have the opportunity to try the product and then tell my family/friends what I think of it and give them some coupons.
I've decided to blog about the products I will campaign for as well. So the first campaign I was asked to participate to was the Dan Active probiotic drink by Danone.
My first thought when I saw the package was how small the container was. It is smaller that the other kind of drinkable yogourt you can find on the market. However, it is full of probiotics which will help you strengthen your natural defenses.
Not many people know about probiotics...Probiotics are friendly bacteria that helps your intestines. When you are sick and need to take anti-biotics, you should always take some probiotics to replenish your intestines. Each DanActive bottle contains 10 billion L casei Defensis. The bottles are in size of 93 mL and are available in three flavours; Cranberry Raspberry, Blueberry and Strawberry.
We enjoyed drinking the bottles and would consider taking them with us while camping or while driving. The bottles are easy to carry around and to drink from. Even a child could do it. I found them a bit more expensive than regular yogourt but the format is interesting since it's easy to put one in a purse and take it on the go. This probiotic drink is available in 4-packs (3.29$), 8-packs (5.99$) and 12-packs (8.99$). You can easily found them at all major drug stores and grocery stores in the refrigerated dairy aisle.
Try it out! You might be impressed...
On another matter - did you ever realized the stressed upside down is spelled desserts. No I will not give in to desserts. I'm trying to loose weight. If I do eat - I'll count my points I promise...
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Interested in Homeschooling? Don't know where to start? Feeling overwhelmed in your homeschooling? Homeschooling ABCs will help you.
The Homeschooling ABCs class is 26 weeks of lessons coming directly via your e-mail. It is also 26 weeks through which you will learn how homeschooling can be done and that it’s not that frightening.
Terri Johnson, from Knowledge Quest, is behind this initiative. She specifies that “it often takes two full years to feel as though they have finally entered their stride and are fostering the home learning environment that they are striving for.” Well I am looking forward to see what will happen next year as this is my second year of homeschooling (2008-2009). I learned a lot via this class on various aspects of my homeschool and next year (2009-2010) I am making some changes to accommodate my family and to be more organized.
Going through the alphabet, Terri will guide you in starting on the right foot on the path of homeschooling.
A. 10 Steps to a Great Start in Homeschooling
B. Let’s Begin with the Basics
C. Copy the Classroom – Not!
D. Dare to Differentiate
E. Establish YOUR Philosophy of Education
F. Finding the Best Curriculum for your Family
G. Get Together – Networking with Other Homeschoolers
H. Hands-on Learning for Greater Retention
I. Internet and Library Research Skills
J. Just Say “No” – Staying focused and on-track
K. Keeping up with Kindergarteners & Preschoolers
L. Living and Learning at Home
M. Math Can be Fun!
N. Nature Study and Science Exploration
O. Out the Door – Time for a Field Trip!
P. Phonics, Reading and Spelling
Q. The Quintessential Expression of Art & Music
R. Review and FAQ
S. The Big Question… What About Socialization?
T. Teaching the Multi-Grade Classroom
U. Used Curriculum – What to do with it?
V. Evaluations, Testing & Grades – Validate their Progress with Evaluations
W. Writing is Not So Tough!
X. Explore His Earth through History & Geography (2 part)
Y. Yes, You Can Homeschool High School
Z. Z End is Just the Beginning!
Many bonuses are given during the length of the class. Bonuses like project packs from In the Hands of a Child, Teaching Less While Your Child Learns More from Living Books Curriculum, sample lessons from WriteShop, ebook and digital issues from Teach Magazine, Teaching Science and Having Fun by Felice Gerwitz, and many more. All these bonuses are worth 250$.
I personally enjoyed reading every lessons and I learned many different aspects of homeschooling. I realized even more this year – not only with the Homeschooling ABCs but also from interacting with my fellow TOS crew members – that every homeschool is different and that each of us have our own flavor in doing homeschool. I learned also that it’s important to be able to say no sometimes so that we don’t pack our schedule with activities. It’s important to expose our kids to a variety of fun things to do but I personally think it’s important also for them to learn to slow down and have some quiet time. From the 3Rs to field trips as well as including history and geography, Terry Johnson will guide you in all the various aspects of homeschooling. She will also give you various links to vendors who offers interesting products.
How much is the class you wonder? The price is very reasonable if you ask me. For 10$ US a month for a period of six months you will receive an e-mail weekly with the lesson of the week. This can be calculated to a minimal cost of 2.30$ US per class session. If you are a new or young homeschooler, the class is worth the investment believe me. You will be blessed beyond measure with what you will receive. And if you know someone who is considering homeschooling, direct them to Homeschooling ABCs class to get more information about it.
When I first considered homeschooling, I didn’t have access to such a class. I investigated a lot going to the point of asking questions to the families I knew that were homeschooling. I was blessed to have about 10 families in my church who were already homeschooling. I read a lot of homeschool books and I even went to a conference before officially start our homeschool journey. This class helped me to modify some things and to become better at it. I look forward to see where we will go in our homeschool journey. My wish is to be able to continue for many years to come and hopefully continue during the high school years as well. But as I approach my 3rd year of homeschool, I will still continue to take one day at a time and to brace myself to teach multi-grades going from JK to grade 3.
Also, Terri is working on brand new classes to offer to the homeschool community around the World. Upper Level Homeschool will be about homeschooling your middle and high school students with confidence and Earn Money While Teaching Your Children at Home will touch the subject of having a home business. I think Terri is offering something different and interesting to homeschoolers. I look forward for the other classes in the future.
... literally. I called mom last night and asked if we could come. The conversation was okay in itself with the usual comments but she agreed for us to come down on Monday. Which is a miracle in itself since she refused to let us come since over a year now... I don't want to go in details about it. I'm just glad we can go - know what I mean?
Anyhow, having said that, hubby said last night that maybe we won't be able to go. NO! Hubby has been sick with sinusitis since a week. He is now on medications but he wonders if he will feel better before Monday. Sure hope so. And baby Jasmine has a runny nose now. Mind you, they probably got it from me because 2 weeks ago I have sinusitis and vertigo because the infection went into my inner ear. Not fun believe me... I'm just glad that the sinusitis is gone. The vertigo is mostly gone... sometimes I feel it again but most days it's gone. I don't wish that to anyone. It is the worst feeling in the world I think - especially when it last a few days. Yack!
Anyhow, if you happen to read this, please pray for my sick loved ones and for the visit. Thanks.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
I was very happy to receive the book in mid-March and immediately I started reading it. I had the feeling that I was reading the personal journal of Makoto Fujimura and that I was travelling with him and his thoughts on culture, art and humanity. I was truly touched by his experience of 9/11 and by what his faith made him realize following this dreadful day. It is a collection of what he wrote following the crash in New York City. That he lives within walking distance of Ground Zero is simply extraordinaire. I think personally I would have move away from the area. But when you think about it, any disaster can happen anywhere really. Through Makoto, I saw and heard people of different nationalities and backgrounds coming together and use art to express their emotions and sentiments about life-death-humanity.
I think art is very useful for anyone who wants to express how they feel without using words. Art can be painting, drawing, dancing and so on. Makoto Fujimura confirmed the importance of art in a culture that is ever changing. As Christians, we need to dig into it and create to understand a part of God that sometimes we might forget about – after all He was the Creator. And as being part of His creation, we are likely to be drawn to expressing ourselves with art. Like Makoto says so easily “Art expresses who we are.” I agree with him. When I draw I try to ponder on what I want to express before I go on. I’m not a major artist but I like experimenting and maybe someday I will take courses to become better at it. For now, I use art to express my faith at church and I really enjoy it.
If we look at history, we will realize that art has always being part of our lives. We learn a lot from the Romans, Greeks or any other civilization by examining and admiring their pieces of art. Who knows what the future generations will learn from us just by looking at the art produced during the 20th and 21st centuries. If we can pass a message of faith through it I think it would be wonderful…
Art is around us no matter what. We need to decide whether we will use it to destroy or to save lives like Makoto suggest. As Christians we need to be bold enough to express our faith in this culture by using the means of art – in various ways and using various tools. We need to make wise choices and maybe influences the movie companies or TV shows producers to have better quality products to watch when we go to the theater or watch television. It’s all about choices really – we have a choice to trust God or to reject Him. We have a choice to impact our culture or not.
I really enjoyed reading Refractions and I recommend it to anyone who would love to use art and faith to impact the culture around us. Take a step of faith and discover a new way of expressing your love for the Creator!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
About the book:
When Mattie O'Keefe arrives in Deadwood, South Dakota, she finds the future she hoped for shattered. Determined to claim a fresh start, Mattie soon must decide where true riches lie--and what's worth dying for.
Who is Stephanie Grace Whitson?
Stephanie Grace Whitson is a bestselling author and two times Christy Award finalist. She pursues a full-time writing and speaking career from her home studio in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her husband and blended family, her church, quilting, and Kitty--her motorcycle--all rank high on her list of "favorite things".
After reading the book – well I should say devoured it – I took a couple of days to ponder about it. You know what struck me the most? Not the main character, Mattie, who is able to adapt to hard situations but another woman in the novel, Swede. Swede, also known as Katerina, is the sort of woman I admire. This woman is a mother who is doing all she can to make a living in a time where women would have been in the mercy of many hardships. She doesn’t hesitate to become a teamsters and go back and forth to bring goods to Deadwood. She also travels with her baby girl through difficult conditions at times. I also have a baby girl and I don’t think I would have been able to do what Swede did. I mean this woman has so much courage I just wish I would have half the dose she has. Mind you, I didn’t went through the hardships she did and I don’t know how I would have reacted if that would have been the case. She has ideas on certain goods to bring and at first others doubt her decisions. She followed her instincts on these decisions and it was fructuous. But God blessed that woman and brought good friends to help her in various shapes or forms. At the end, she is loved again and she is well established with her family.
Now don’t take me wrong, Mattie is a great character too but somehow Swede has struck me in the heart probably because she is a mother as well. A Claim of Her Own is a great read, very relaxing and instructive. It gives lots of information on own prospectors were looking for gold during the gold rush and how they lived during that time.
Friday, April 3, 2009
The glue stick is very versatile. I was able to use it on the wide side or the thin side depending of what I needed to glue. The glue is non-toxic and acid free which is perfect when doing scrapbooking. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do and then when I was ready I got sick with sinusitis and vertigo. But today I felt better and decided to create my project.
As you might already have figured it out, I’m crazy about ladybugs. And when my daughter was 3 months old, we got a picture done with – you guessed it – ladybug wings! I love this picture very much and I wanted to do a scrapbook about it since forever. I had my design in my head and I started working with the photo glue stick from UHU. I used it for everything in my page including the ribbon. The formula is strong and the bond is semi-permanent. I decided to include some ribbon between the ladybug picture and the green frame at the top of the page after I had glued the picture. I was able to remove it without problem to include the ribbon. What I also like with the glue stick is that you can control the amount of glue available by pushing it up and down.
I had a lot of fun working on my project and it made me realize I should take the time to work on my scrapbook pages or my greeting cards more often.